Walden ESA Proposal Offers Deceptive Shamby Will Neuhauser
Capital Press, August 20, 2004
I was deeply disappointed in your editorial (“Time to Update the ESA,” Aug. 6) supporting the sham “update” to the Endangered Species Act. I hoped for better from fellow northwesterners.
Nothing could be clearer or sadder in the Northwest than the almost complete loss of salmon from the Northwest — once a key part of the culture and economy and now largely a relic preserved in our images of ourselves. Every interest except ag has stepped forward to help. You try to blame environmentalists, but I ask: Why is the farming economy more important than the now lost salmon fishing and cannery economy? Why is preserving the 100-150-year-old ranching “lifestyle” more important than the thousands of years old Native American culture that once centered on salmon?
The legislation is a sham, with a disingenuous title: Walden’s bill would use legislation to choose which scientific methods to use instead of letting scientists choose, it would replace scientists’ conclusions with political appointees’ decisions and it would remove timelines for completion to allow stalling until the species under consideration have gone extinct.
Today, it already takes years of scientific data-gathering, research, and analysis before listing any new species. The best available science is already required to be used in that process. Today’s process already involves peer review and public comment.
And lastly, you conveniently quoted only those supporters of the legislation that supposedly would improve the science used in the ESA. If you’d done your journalistic research, you would have seen that over 400 scientists have publicly opposed the legislation as interfering with the scientific process and not improving it.
There’s room for improving the system, but supporting divisive, deceptive pseudo-scientific political legislation isn’t going to help bring the parties to the table to do it.
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